Chapter 3: What is that?

Tanaa! You forgot about this, didn't you? Well it has been haunting me for a time! Here goes and sorry for the wait!

Disclaimer: Me no ownee Naruo (T^T)

Normal text represents normal narration.

"Dialogue is in normal text and enclosed in quotations."

Flashback is in italics.

'Thoughts are in italics and enclosed by quotes.'

'The tailed beasts speak in bold italics and enclosed in quotes.'

Places and time frames are in bold.

Normal text may sometimes have italics for effect or emphasis.

Previously, in OW&I…

Hikami watched Naruto all evening. He had come to the conclusion that the blonde was strange. He carried a demon inside, like Hikami did, but it did not seem to faze him at all. This guy seemed to be loved by almost everyone. He had close friends and he laughed a lot. Hikami frowned from his perch in the tree overlooking Naruto's home in the village. Naruto had strange customs. The blonde had sat down in a room for hours doing absolutely nothing. Hikami was curious.

'I'm going to take a closer look,' Hikami told Horyuu. The dragon only released an amused chuckle. Hikami's curiosity overshadowed his pride and he edged his way to the open window of the now dark sleeping area that Naruto occupied. The tree branch dipped precariously under his weight and Hikami's eyes flew open in shock as he felt himself hurtling forward.

"You have the worst stealth mode ever," Horyuu groaned, a large sweatdrop sliding down his forehead as Hikami slid from the branch and through the open window of Naruto's apartment.

Naruto was awake before Hikami breached his window, and rolled swiftly out of bed to avoid a collision. He was on guard before his eyes so much as opened, and when they did, the blue orbs lit up with pleasant surprise.

"Hikami-kun!" the blonde exclaimed enthusiastically. "You're back!" The blue haired jinchuuriki stood up quickly, an embarrassed flush pushing to his pale cheeks at the thought that his clumsy entry into Naruto's house was seen. He grunted in reply, trying to ignore Horyuu's deep belly laughs from inside his mindscape.

"Back," he mimicked, pinning Naruto with his icy stare. Naruto only grinned in response and scratched the back of his head.

"So, are you hungry?" the blonde asked, touching his own stomach and looking at Hikami curiously. "Do you want to eat?" he continued, making eating gestures. Hikami blinked at him, unsure of how to respond.

"Yes?" Naruto asked, smiling and nodding his head. "Or no?" he continued, frowning and shaking his head from side to side. Hikami considered for a moment before nodding. He was rather hungry.

"No," he said while nodding slowly. Was that the correct way? If possible, Naruto's eyes lit up even more, and an amused grin stretched his lips.

"You mean, yes," Naruto corrected, nodding. Hikami mimicked him, embarrassed that he'd not been able to say the correct words.

"Okay! I have ramen! It's the best!" he exclaimed, backing from the room and beckoning for Hikami to follow. Horyuu was strangely silent, as if he too was confused by the blonde's behavior and startling lack of anything that could be labeled as animosity or falseness.

Hikami slowly took in his surroundings as he followed Naruto. The floor of Naruto's home was hard and cool, unlike the dirt floors of the huts in the village he was accustomed to. The walls were also much sturdier looking and the whole place had an unfamiliar scent. It was also, to Hikami, rather hot. Instead of the single room huts he was used to seeing, Naruto's living space had passages and several rooms, filled with strange things that Hikami was dying to learn about.

"Okay. This is the kitchen. Kitchen," Naruto said, pointing to a room with strange metal objects with knobs and wooden boxes with doors.

"Kitchen," Hikami repeated, committing the word to memory. Naruto moved around in the kitchen, chattering with words Hikami did not understand in the least. Still, it was very enjoyable to have someone speaking to him like this. It had never happened before, and Hikami was suddenly conscious that he would hate for it to go back to the silence. Naruto opened one of the doors to the wooden boxes mounted on the wall. Hikami pointed to it.

"… and it's really cool. Oh, this?" Naruto asked, touching the wooden box. "This is a cupboard," he said, tapping his index finger repeatedly on the item.

"Cupboard," Hikami repeated, frowning slightly in concentration on the item. So this kitchen had cupboards, then. Naruto took an item with a strange skin on it from the cupboard and set it down on….

"Hmmm," Hikami mumbled, tapping the flat surface Naruto had put the item on.

"That is a counter. Counter," Naruto said slowly. "And this, is ramen," he added, shaking the item he'd taken from the cupboard. As Naruto proceeded to take things out of cupboards, Hikami learned several new words, some of which were, pot, stove, fire, water, hot, noodle, beef and food. He even learned a set of words people used when they wanted to find out what something was.

"What is that?" Hikami enunciated slowly, pointing to two sticks Naruto had in his hand.

"These are chopsticks," Naruto said. "We use them to eat," he explained, pretending to eat with them. Hikami used the word the tiny human from his home had taught him, because he wanted chopsticks too.

"Mine," he said, extending his open palm expectantly. Naruto blinked, and then grinned, handing the chopsticks over to him. Wait… wasn't he supposed to fight for it?

Naruto poured water into the pot and put it on the stove. He turned a knob and fire appeared from little circular mounds on the stove, directly underneath the pot. Before long, the water in the pot was filled with hundreds of tiny bubbles. Hikami watched all this with rapt attention, soaking in the names of everything he could point to.

Naruto seemed to be enjoying his company, and had no problem giving him the names of each and every item he indicated. The blonde took two more items from the cupboard.

"Pot?" Hikami asked, pointing at them. He remembered that shape. Unfortunately, Naruto shook his head. That meant 'no'.

"No," Naruto said. "This is a bowl." Hikami frowned, testing out the new word on his lips. Naruto emptied the ramen into each bowl and then poured the hot water on top. Almost immediately, a wondrous scent rose from the bowl. Hikami's interest was piqued instantly. He moved closer and took a look.

Inside the bowl, the noodles were becoming fatter and softer looking. Strange! He darted a glance at Naruto, who was grinning in pleasure. Apparently this was the desired effect. Interesting…

"Now, it is time to eat," Naruto said, pushing a bowl in front of Hikami and sliding one in front of himself.

"Time to eat," Hikami echoed.

"Itadakimasu," Naruto said, snapping his chopsticks apart. Hikami did the same, stumbling slightly over the long word. He waited for Naruto to continue. Naruto wielded the chopsticks with one hand, sticking them into the bowl and pulling them back up with noodles and beef hanging from them. Hikami tried, but failed miserably. He scowled at the offensive items.

His old way of eating was much more efficient.

He stuck his fingers into the bowl, before yanking them back out with a pained yelp. He sent a sheepish gaze Naruto's way.

"Hot," they said at the same time, before grinning. Naruto rested down his chopsticks and beckoned Hikami into the kitchen. Not seeing any need to distrust the blonde, Hikami followed him to what he knew now was the sink. Turning the knobs made water come out of the faucet.

Naruto turned the knob at the top, and water came pulsing forth. Naruto took Hikami's hand and guided it to the water. It was cool, and soothed his burned fingers. Hikami could easily have pushed ice to his fingertips, but he'd been so distracted that it hadn't come to mind.

Naruto handed Hikami a towel to dry his hands – something which Hikami found rather strange – and showed him how to use the chopsticks.

Hikami grinned in triumph when he managed to get a whole noodle up to his mouth. It was delicious! He wanted more! He attacked the contents of his bowl with gusto, making pleasured sounds with every taste.

"Amazing, ne?" Naruto exclaimed, an expression of pure delight on his face.

"Amazing!" Hikami echoed, taking this word to mean something positive. Being the quick learner that he was, it only took Hikami a small amount of time to be able to handle the chopsticks decently enough to eat the majority of the solid food in the ramen. Then, he followed Naruto's lead, raised the bowl to his lips, and drank the remaining broth.

He had never had such wonderful tasting food before! He wanted more, but how to ask for it?

"Ramen," he demanded, pushing his bowl at Naruto. Naruto nodded knowingly.

"You want more?" he asked, heading towards the cupboard again.

"Yes," Hikami responded, hoping that this was the correct response this time. Evidently, it was, because Naruto took another package of ramen from the cupboard and set more water on the stove. Hikami was convinced that he could eat ramen alone for the rest of his life. Indeed, it was getting hard to wait for the bubbles to appear in the water.

Hikami moved just as a gust of wind blew in from the window, and a strange look came over Naruto's face. Suddenly, the male lost his cheerful expression to a more somber, contemplative one. Hikami began to feel slightly uncomfortable. What was happening? It was then that Horyuu returned to the surface of his mindscape.

'You probably should have killed him already,' the tailed beast muttered with a dark chuckle. 'Who knows what he is coming with now…' The notion that this experience was over, and he would have to kill this man was displeasing to Hikami. He didn't want to do it at all. Who else would tell him what everything was?

Naruto's eyes suddenly brightened.

"Hikami, come with me," he said, his cheerful expression back in full force. He backed from the kitchen and into the hallway. Hikami followed, frowning and distrustful. He wasn't entirely sure that this was a good idea, but his determination to trust Naruto sent Horyuu off to the depths of Hikami's mind where he would sulk for a while at being ignored.

"This is the bathroom," Naruto declared, stepping into a small room. It had a strange stick jutting from the wall that looked like a faucet, but was much higher up and had no sink or knobs above it. Along one wall, there was a faucet and sink and also a strange white shiny object that was oval shaped with a cube-like structure on top. Whatever did one do in such a place?

Kitchens were for ramen, obviously, but what did one do here?

"Shower," Naruto said, pointing to the strange faucet on the wall. Next, he reached for a white oval object that had a wonderful, inexplicable scent emanating from it.

"This is soap," Naruto said. He turned on the shower, and water came out. Then, Naruto stuck the soap under the water, and rubbed his hands over it. Immediately, white frothy bubbles appeared and the scent of the soap got even stronger.

"Hot?" Hikami asked, pointing to the bubbles. He took a step away from the white bubbles.

"No," Naruto said with a smile. He reached a soapy hand for Hikami's. The white bubbles did not seem to be bothering Naruto, so Hikami stuck out his hand. "Dirty," Naruto continued, pointing to Hikami's dirty arm. He rubbed the soap over Hikami's skin and then rinsed it with water. When the soap was all gone, so was the dirt, and there was a cool, fresh feeling on the clean spot.

"Clean," Naruto said with a grin. Hikami frowned as he thought. This was a strange item, for sure. But Naruto was not yet finished. He took out an item from a cupboard – yes the bathroom had some too – that looked like a towel, but was thinner and smaller.

"What is that?" Hikami asked.

"This is a washcloth," Naruto elaborated. He soaped up the rag and ran it over the length of Hikami's arm, scrubbing gently. It was smooth… but yet rough, and Hikami couldn't resist a chuckle at the feeling. Suddenly, the rest of his body did not feel satisfactory at all. When Naruto rinsed the water off, Hikami decided that he would try this soap on every part of his body.

Naruto ushered Hikami into the shower and rubbed the soapy cloth over his back. He handed him the cloth and motioned for him to remove his furs. Hikami scowled. He never removed his furs.

"No," he stated flatly.

"Take them off," Naruto replied, just as flatly. The two males stared each other down before Naruto's steady gaze, joined by Hikami's confusion, won.

Hikami removed his furs a bit reluctantly and took the soapy cloth from Naruto. The blonde stepped away and turned his back, giving Hikami some privacy. Hikami was not sure whether he understood the blonde's motives, but he proceeded to rub the cloth over every inch of his body. He managed to get every nook and cranny, and when the water cascaded over him, he felt like a completely new person.

It felt, in a word, amazing.

He wanted to do it again.

"Naruto… More," Hikami demanded. "More soap. More washcloth. More water." Naruto turned around, grinning, and rinsed the washcloth clean before soaping it up again and handing it back to Hikami.

Hikami repeated the process, marveling at how good it felt. He wanted to do this and have ramen all the time.

When he was finished, Naruto took a bottle from the corner of the shower and poured a thick white substance into his palm. When he applied water and rubbed it together, more bubbles formed.

"Soap?" Hikami asked, looking intently at the bubbles in Naruto's palm. These smelled different to the soap he'd used.

"No, this is shampoo," Naruto declared. "It's for hair." He promptly slapped the handful of suds to his head and began rubbing it around. A humongous frothy pile of bubbles appeared on his head, which Naruto rinsed out after a bit more rubbing.

"Clean?" Hikami asked. That's what the white bubbles did right? They changed dirty to clean. Naruto nodded, and Hikami grinned proudly. He liked to get things correct.

"Now you try," Naruto said, handing Hikami the bottle. Hikami poured the cool cream into his palm and shoved it under the water. Then, he rubbed his hands together, chuckling at the bubbles that formed. This was fun. More fun that the moments he'd spent back in the wintry woods with nothing to do.

He put the suds into his hair and rubbed it around. Apparently he was not doing it the right way, because Naruto approached him and beckoned for him to sit. Then Naruto's strong fingers began working the shampoo into his hair, scrubbing at his scalp as he did so.

It felt wonderful.

Then Naruto began washing the long blue strands that hung down Hikami's back. When he rinsed it out, Hikami took a look in what Naruto called a 'mirror' – it was like a pond, but perfectly still and quite hard – and his eyes widened when he saw his reflection. Was his hair really that bright?

By the time an hour had passed, Naruto was almost done combing the last knots out of Hikami's hair while Hikami tucked into his fifth bowl of ramen. Naruto had given Hikami a pair of shorts to wear and a black T-shirt, and although they were rather strange, Hikami found the clothing comfortable; much more so than his furs had been in the oppressive heat.

It was in the wee hours of the morning by now, and Hikami could tell that Naruto was growing weary.

But apparently, rest was not something the blonde would get much of tonight, because there was a soft rapping from the front door and the blonde immediately jerked to a more alert position. Hikami could feel the chakra of the person at the door.

Naruto set the comb down and moved to the door. Immediately, Hikami was on guard. Were they coming to take his new friend from him? That was thoroughly unacceptable!

Naruto opened the door, and Hikami came up behind him, interested to see who was outside.

He stared into a pair of wide, beautiful grey eyes.

"What is that?" he asked, pointing at the newcomer.

Okay, so I know this chapter may have come over a bit stilted and rather slow, but it was necessary, and I have to find back my vibe for this story! Hopefully, I will be updating much more regularly for this!

Please review!